Here are some of the most common reasons to lucid dream:
Adventure and Excitement
Personal and Spiritual Exploration
Adventure and Excitement
Dreams offer possibilities for adventures. Every time you dream, you enter into a world where anything you imagine is possible; a place where the rules of your waking reality do not exist. You are often only limited by our own uncertainties, and with some practice, you can master dream control. If you have ever wanted to visit a place from a book, movie, or video game, you can do so in a dream. Even if you have no place in mind, you will never run out of new and exciting places to explore within your dreams.
Artistic and Creative Inspiration
Dreams have been the inspiration for many of the world's greatest paintings, musical compositions, sculptures, stories, and even scientific discoveries for thousands of years. Although the modern world often dismisses dreams as useless, they can be a limitless source of creativity. With the intent to dream of something inspirational and good dream recall, a lucid dreamer can put an end to creative dry spells and artistic blocks.
Have you ever wished to have a moment back so that you could change it because at the time you weren’t sure what to do? Lucid dreaming clearly cannot do that for you, and dreaming of that moment isn’t very beneficial since it will simply instill a greater longing to have that moment back. You can, however, try out new behaviours and test yourself under different situations and scenarios, and learn from the results. In this respect you can perhaps prepare yourself for moments that have not yet happened, and perhaps prevent yourself from making otherwise inescapable mistakes. Remember, we all make mistakes because we all have things we need to learn. Some things are perhaps best learned without having to do so at the expense of others. Some examples of using lucid dreaming for rehearsal are for social events, public speaking, difficult or awkward confrontations (such as firing someone, or even proposing marriage), etc.
Of course, everything is controlled by your own mind, so in whatever situations you find yourself dreaming about you’re essentially guessing how others will react. Clearly this is not that exact because it’s not all that often that we are lucky enough to have the opportunity to know someone well enough that we can fill in all the “blanks”; thus, a lot of guessing will be done on your part to determine how others will react in your dreams. In some situations responses are relatively easy to predict, especially when you factor in your own experiences and insight into who people are. Be careful not to convince yourself that you know someone well enough that you’re sure how he or she will react, however—just because we acted one way in one situation doesn’t mean we’ll at all act similarly in another. Regardless, you of course have the ability to create similar moments indefinitely, which allows you to better prepare yourself for a wide range of outcomes.
Most of us look forward to sleep because it is a very peaceful time and allows us to unwind and forget, for a short while, the endless unrest of our waking lives. Some people, however, dread falling asleep because they are plagued by nightmares. If you are having nightmares and you want them to stop, lucid dreaming can help you overcome them. Once you are fully lucid in a nightmare, you'll realize that your fears cannot harm you and you will be able to confront the nightmare. Most people choose to destroy or change the nightmare; others sometimes open a dialogue with it in order to get some insight about why they are having this nightmare. Even if full dream control isn’t achieved, being consciously aware you are dreaming will lessen the devastating effects nightmares can have on you: knowing a situation isn’t real drastically attenuates the fear or intimidation that would normally be associated with that situation. Lucid dreaming may also rid one of nightmares permanently, and may actually be psychologically beneficial because it provides one with the opportunity to face up to his or her fears on his or her own terms, which is usually not that possible in the waking world. Lucid dreaming can provide you with the opportunity to realize that your fears are perhaps unfounded and help you find the confidence to overcome them in the real world.
This is a very interesting aspect of REM sleep. Sleep is seen as a time of rest; it may seem strange that the brain is highly active during REM sleep, comparable to when awake. Some studies even suggest the brain is most creative during the period between waking and REM sleep, although those studies are beyond the scope of this site. A possible explanation to the heightened mental abilities of the brain during sleep is the lack of sensory input—the brain is not focused on our senses, such as sight, hearing, etc. Thus, the brain can focus more readily on creative problem solving. Problem solving while dreaming obviously can be quite difficult since one would really have to focus on one’s intent and prevent extraneous interference from distracting him or her. I’m sure we all appreciate how easy it is to become distracted in our dreams, losing sight of something that happened moments before as something completely new happens.
Having said that, if you are looking for a creative solution to a problem, thinking about this problem in a lucid dream may help you approach the problem in a different way.
Personal and Spiritual Exploration
The above reasons for lucid dreaming are all well-established, practical, and things anyone can do whether or not they have any personal or spiritual beliefs. As has been said before, dreaming is only what you want it to be.
One of these uses for lucid dreams is called dreamscaping. Dreamscaping seems to encompass a number of things, one of which is sharing a dream with someone else—not simply having an identical dream, but rather, actually joining someone in a dream; it is sometimes also known as collective dreaming or dreamsharing. No one can say whether this is possible or not, but there are those who swear it is. The idea itself is fascinating—to actually be able to find someone else while dreaming—but whether or not it is a real phenomenon yet to be proven.
Another use that falls under this category is called astral projection, which is the projection of your soul or astral body into different dimensions. Because it is an unproven phenomena, discussion of astral projection is limited to the Beyond Dreaming subforum.
A final use to place in this category might hit a little closer to home to most people than the others. Some of us explore our dreams simply looking for answers to questions that we otherwise cannot answer. That previous sentence speaks volumes, so I’ll leave it at that.
If you’re interested in reading about others’ reasons for having lucid dreams and their experiences, you can visit the Lucid Experiences forum on our message board. To read more about not-so-practical uses for lucid dreams, try Beyond Dreaming on the message board.